This is a bittersweet post, as it marks the final set of videos from my Math Routines video series from this past school year. I learned so much over the course of the year while filming and working with teachers and students across grades K-4 on these Number Routines:
As I watched each filmed class routine, I reflected a lot on the types of questions I asked students, the way I structured the problem(s), the math the students knew, and the many interesting student ideas I didn’t anticipate in my planning. This process was an incredible experience in professional growth.
Seeing math routines through the lens of every grade level has been such an amazing experience. While I’ve remained fairly consistent in the types of routines filmed in the kindergarten, third, and fourth grade classrooms, I’ve introduced a new routine to this first grade collection called Choral Counting.
Choral Counting is an activity in which students count together by a given number as the teacher records the count on the board. The purpose of a choral count is not just to practice rote counting, but to engage students in reasoning, predicting, looking for patterns, and justifying things they notice in the count.
Do you ever wonder how you get yourself into some things?
That’s exactly what I was thinking when I stepped in front of 21 kindergartners to teach a lesson I developed with the video camera rolling. I planned on challenging myself and embracing my year of growth mindset and learning from taking risks. I was both excited and terrified by the opportunity to bring my love of STEM to the small scientists.
Did I mention that I have NEVER taught kindergarten before?
Did I just say that… and do I really sound like that?
I’ve always been told I look and sound exactly like my younger sister, just with darker hair. I’m still not convinced we look alike, but after listening to my most recent presentation, it easily could’ve been my sister speaking. Scary!
Even more frightening is the wording I chose and the stammering that occurred throughout my delivery of the professional learning.
Those poor teachers.
Without the close vetting of this “unwanted” video, I’d never have realized how much I needed to improve. Sometimes “looking in the mirror” can hurt.
To be 100% truthful, I’m considered the “face” of our school district and I conduct numerous interviews that are then streamed on our local cable channel and on our district YouTube channel. How many of those interviews have I watched to see how I can improve on the next, you ask? ZERO!
It’s time to change my paradigm and realize that video self-reflection can be one of the most valuable tools we have as educators. Here’s my most recent glimpse of my reflection.
A teacher can learn a lot by taking a close read of the classroom.
However, the pace of a typical school day doesn’t allow for much time to step back and take it all in. That’s why video is a great tool to help teachers understand what’s really happening in the classroom as students engage in learning activities.
In the videos I collected of students, I began to notice there was a pattern to their conversations. Based upon the task at hand, my role was to be a facilitator. As teachers embark into NGSS territory, it will become more obvious that students are highly engaged in their tasks. They’re excited and need help making sense of their thinking.
I couldn’t be more excited about the launch of this Teaching Channel project — it’s so near and dear to my heart. Over the past five years, much of my work in the classroom and with teachers has centered around math routines that generate student discourse and help us learn more about our students’ understandings. All of this work has been inspired by books I’ve read, conversations with colleagues in person and on Twitter, and the amazing student mathematical discussions I’ve heard, sparked by these routines. With this project, I have the opportunity to share all of the hard work of my colleagues, showcase the safe culture they have established in their classrooms, and highlight all of the wonderful mathematical ideas of their students.
The Yakima School District embarked on an adventure in August of the 2015-2016 school year. We began a cohort of teachers who wanted to learn how to use video to improve their instruction of English Language Learners. Like most adventures in education, this looked like a relatively straight road. We soon found out that it was filled with crazy bends, steep climbs, rapid descents, and radical hairpin turns.
As many of you know, at Teaching Channel we regularly develop videos to show examples of classroom practices and showcase a collection of techniques.
However, what you might not be as familiar with is our philosophy of using video to reflect on and refine practice. As such, we wanted to share with you our video-based coaching cycle, which provides a process for using video in a plan-do-study-act cycle of learning. That is, a way to try a new practice in your classroom, capture video of implementation, and evaluate the impact on student learning.
The Teaching Channel Teams crew is heading to ASCD. This year’s ASCD conference theme is Every Learner: Someday is Now. Teams will be there showcasing our social and video-enabled professional development platform for schools, districts and education organizations.
Stop by our booth, number 1623. Say hello, see Teams in action, get some Teams goodies, and enter our raffle for a chance to win a SWIVL™.
Whether you’re recording your own practice for self-reflection, or putting together a student lesson to “flip” your class, here are tips for making sure you capture and produce great material:
Keep the camera still. The action in your shot should be what the camera films. With the exception of a little panning and tilting to keep the subject in frame, let the camera be a quiet observer. A shaky or constantly zooming camera is a huge distraction from the teaching message.
Capture multiple views. If you can, try using two cameras with different viewpoints. It makes a world of difference later when you can cut back and forth between them depending on the context of the video. One camera could be focused wide on you and your whiteboard, while the other is zoomed in to only see you, as a simple example.
Get the specific shot. If your video is covering something small, get up close so we can see it. You’ll lose the viewer with a shot that is too far or wide to see what you’re talking about, or if you zoom in and the result is a shaky shot. Look into a lens adapter kit if you are using a smartphone. That, in turn, may require that you mount the device. I like the magnetic Gorillapod as a catch-all mount for a small camera or smartphone.